El Paso Dog Bite Lawyer | El Paso Dog Mauling Lawsuit | El Paso Dog Attack Attorney
El Paso County Dog Bite Accident Attorney
Dangerous Dog Facts:
- An estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year;
- Approximately 334,000 people are admitted to US emergency rooms annually with dog bite-associated injuries, and another 466,000 are seen in other medical settings;
- An unknown number of other people who have been bitten do not sustain injuries deemed serious enough to require medical attention;
- Almost half of all persons bitten are children younger than 12 years old; and
- People more than 70 years old comprise 10% of those bitten and 20% of those killed.
According to Zoonosis Control Division of the Texas Department of Health, domesticated dogs comprise most the dog bites in any given year. Even more shocking, Texas was the leader in dog bite fatalities in 2007, with seven fatalities stemming from dog bites that year alone. There is a regional Zoonosis office in El Paso located at Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control, 401 E. Franklin Street, Suite 210, El Paso, Texas 79901-1206, (915) 834-7780 for all of your needs and questions.
Responsible Dog Ownership in El Paso Definitely Can Reduce El Paso Dog Bites
As so many things in life, dog bites can be reduced by what happens in the home. A dog is not always the one to blame in the instance of a dog attack or dog bite injury. Many owners use their dogs for illegal dog fights and these dogs are victimized every bit as much as the victims of their attacks, and they too are often severely injured or even killed in dog fighting rings as they fight for their lives. Negligent and abusive dog owners should be held liable for their actions. A decision to be a responsible dog is a personal decision and one that requires responsibility. There are many places in and around El Paso, Texas to have your dog trained for obedience. Dog owners are also able to take their dog to an area designated for dogs to play. Dog parks are there so that the owner can take their dog to an area where they can run around and play in an fenced-in and safe place. Dog parks are a responsible place to take your pet to ensure that when they are running off their leash that they will not run away from you and/or cause harm to a person or another animal. Some Dog Training Facilities and Dog Park locations in the General El Paso Area include:
Rio Grande Obedience Dog Club
175 Barker Road
El Paso, TX 79915
Heeling Hounds Dog Training
10501 Gateway W
El Paso, TX 79925
A Better Canine 4 U
8809 Norton Street
El Paso, TX 79904
Mission RV Park
Dogs should be trained and any sense of aggressive behavior exhibited by a dog should be immediately attended to by the pet owner in order to avoid a future incident. What it boils down to is that if you or a loved one have been bitten, attacked, maimed, or killed by a dog or other animal, you should be entitled to some degree of compensation from the animal’s owner or handler. Contact one of the experienced El Paso dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Texas’s “One Bite” Rule & Dog Bite Claims Based on Negligence
Texas follows the arcane “one bite rule.” This means that a pet owner is liable when:
- the owner knew that the dog had bitten someone before or had a “dangerous propensity” for biting;
- the bite was caused by the negligence of the person handling the dog;
- the bite was caused by a violation of a leash law, prohibition against dogs trespassing or running at large, or a similar animal control law; or,
- the bite injury was caused intentionally by the owner or person handling the dog.
When it cannot be proved that the dog’s owner or handler knew of the dog’s propensity to bite, negligence can form the basis of a claim. An example of a negligence-based claim could occur when the owner of a dog whose breed is notorious for its violent propensities — such as a pit bull, Rottweiler, or German Shepherd — allows their dog to run loose in a children’s park or other public area without supervision. The dog’s owner will be held liable based on negligence if the dog bites a child in the park.
However, a person does not have to be the dog’s owner to be held liable for a bite victim’s injuries. A child bitten at a day care facility for dogs could, through the child’s parents, make a claim against the pet care center, even though the dog was owned by a third party who was absent at the time of the bite. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, you should contact an El Paso dog bite attorney to pursue your personal injury claims. Even if the dog has no prior history of aggression and has never bitten anyone before, Texas’s “one bite rule” may allow an El Paso dog bite injury lawyer to fight your claim successfully, and you deserve compensation for your injuries.
El Paso Negligence Per Se Dog Bite Lawyer
When a statute or ordinance is violated and the violation leads to an injury, this is called negligence per se.
Negligence per se is frequently found in cases of dog bites, dog maulings, and dog attacks, often resulting from a violation of:
- leash laws;
- dog trespass laws; or,
- no “free-run” laws.
Usually, these types of dog control laws and ordinances are only found in large Texas cities; however, El Paso has an ordinance requiring that dogs be "restrained" at all times. Furthermore, El Paso requires that all dogs over four months of age be licensed with the city officials. If you or a loved one has been bitten or mauled by a dog running loose in violation of the law of El Paso or El Paso County, you should contact a local El Paso dog bite attorney immediately.
Lillian’s Law (H.B. 1355)
The so-called “Lillian Stiles Law,” sponsored by Senator Eliot Shapleigh and passed in 2007, increases the jail time for owners who fail to secure their dogs in a reasonable manner, resulting in serious bodily injury or death to another. Under the law, a dog owner will be charged with a third-degree felony if their dog causes serious bodily injury to a victim during an unprovoked attack. A third-degree felony is punishable by 2-10 years of prison time as well as a potential fine of up to $10,000. If the victim dies from an unprovoked dog attack, H.B. 1355 would impose a charge of second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Click here for more information on the passage of Lillian’s Law,
Texas still allows a dog to be chained up, which is not only bad policy, but also dangerous to children and others who are routinely attacked by dogs that have been chained. Lillian’s law helps protect El Paso residents from dogs that attack when not reasonably secured and allows El Paso dog bite lawyers to sue the dog owners despite lack of previous history of aggression or any provocation from the injury victim. Call an El Paso dog bite lawyer today.
Some of Texas' Laws on Dog Bites
Some of the laws are found in the Texas Health & Safety Code, Title 10, Chapter 822 Regulation of Animals:
- Subchapter A General Provisions; Dogs That Attack Persons or Are a Danger to Persons;
Subchapter D Dangerous Dogs;
- 822.041. Definitions;
- 822.042. Requirements for Owner of Dangerous Dog;
- 822.0421. Determination That Dog is Dangerous;
- 822.0422. Reporting of Incident in Certain Counties and Municipalities;
- 822.0423. Hearing;
- 822.043. Registration;
- 822.044. Attack by Dangerous Dog;
- 822.045. Violations;
- 822.046. Defense; and
- 822.047. Local Regulation of Dangerous Dogs
Chapter 7.12 - DOGS AND CATS:
7.12.010 - Running at large prohibited.
7.12.020. - Registration, vaccination, and microchips required.
7.12.030 - Collar and tag required.
7.12.040 - Vaccination and microchip required.
7.12.050 - Animals in public places.
7.12.060 - Dangerous dogs.
Every person owning or having charge, care, custody or control of any dog or cat shall keep such dog or cat exclusively upon his own premises by means of appropriate and humane physical restraint; provided, however, that such dog may be off such premises if it is under direct control of a competent person by means of a secure leash or by some other equivalent means of direct physical control, and such cat may be off such premises if it is under direct physical control of a competent person.
(Ord. 16807 § 3 (part), 2007; Ord. 16229 § 1 (part), 2006)
A. Dogs, cats and ferrets shall be registered, vaccinated and have an implanted microchip as provided in this title.
1. No person who is a resident of the city shall have within the city for more than thirty days any dog, cat or ferret four months of age or older unless such dog, cat or ferret is currently registered with the program.
2. No person who is not a resident of the city shall have within the city any dog, cat or ferret for more than ninety days unless such dog, cat or ferret is currently registered with program.
3. No dog, cat or ferret shall be registered unless it has a current vaccination as is required by the director and an implanted microchip. A registration certificate and tag may be obtained from veterinarians who have obtained authority from the program to issue them, or from an employee at the center upon presentation of a certificate of current vaccination and evidence of microchip.
4. No person shall have within the city any dog, cat or ferret four months of age or older for more than ten days unless such dog, cat or ferret is currently vaccinated against rabies.
B. Upon application by a veterinarian, the program shall furnish the veterinarian with a supply of microchips and pre-numbered registration certificates and corresponding tags. The veterinarian shall be authorized to receive applications and issue registration certificates and tags for animals that are currently vaccinated and microchipped. Copies of all certificates issued shall be distributed and transmitted to various city agencies in accordance with arrangements made by the program with the veterinarians, provided that no information shall be released in violation of Texas Health and Safety Code Section 826.0211. When applying for additional microchips, certificates and tags the veterinarian shall account to the program for all those previously supplied to him, and shall remit to the program all fees collected. He shall be held financially responsible for any microchips, certificates and tags no longer in his possession that have not been issued or voided and returned to the program. The program may refuse to supply additional microchips, certificates and tags to any veterinarian who fails to account for all items previously furnished to him by the program. All fees collected by any veterinarian are payable to the city upon demand.
C. Application for initial issuance or renewal of each registration must be made by the owner in writing or in person, and be accompanied by the established fee for a dog, cat, or ferret. If an original current registration certificate is lost or destroyed, the owner may obtain a duplicate by paying the established fee.
D. A registration shall be renewed annually.
E. No person shall use a certificate or tag for any animal other than the one for which it was issued.
F. If there is a change in ownership or owner contact information of a registered dog, cat or ferret, the new owner shall update contact information to include any new address and telephone number, and have the registration and microchip information transferred to his name or new contact information within seven days after the change in ownership or change in owner contact information. Application for a change of ownership or change of contact information of a registered dog, cat or ferret shall be made to the program in the manner established by the director in writing, in person, or at the office of a participating veterinarian, and be accompanied by the established fee.
G. Fee-exempt registrations may be issued for the following, provided however, eligibility for fee-exempt registration does not relieve the owner of his responsibility under other provisions of this title:
1. Dogs that are trained and used in an official capacity by a law enforcement or governmental agency;
2. Service animals; and
3. Animals other than dogs, cats or ferrets that are vaccinated against rabies.
(Ord. 16807 §§ 3 (part), 4 (part), 14, 2007; Ord. 16229 § 1 (part), 2006)
(Ord. No. 17428, § 5, 10-5-2010/eff. 1-1-2011)
A. Upon registration there shall be delivered to the owner a metallic tag stamped with the registration certificate number and the year in which issued.
B. The owner shall see that the dog or cat wears at all times a collar or harness to which the current registration tag shall be attached, except as in subsection C or D of this section. It is unlawful for any person to remove the tag from the collar or harness without the owner's consent.
C. Dogs or cats confined within a residence need not wear their collar or harness nor their registration tag while within the residence. However, in no case shall a dog or cat be allowed to exit the interior of the residence without wearing their collar or harness with the current registration tag attached.
D. Dogs or cats competing at approved dog or cat club shows or trials or while being transported to and from such events need not wear their collar or harness nor their registration tag.
E. If such tag is lost or destroyed, the owner shall apply at the center in writing, in person, or at the office of a participating veterinarian, for a new tag by presentation of the applicable vaccination certificate, registration certificate, and evidence of microchip, accompanied by the established fee.
(Ord. 16229 § 1 (part), 2006)
(Ord. No. 17428, § 6, 10-5-2010/eff. 1-1-2011)
No person shall own, keep or harbor within the city any dog, cat or ferret four months of age or older unless such dog, cat or ferret has a current vaccination and implanted microchip. A dog, cat or ferret will have a current vaccination for one year. However, after April 1, 2006, a vaccination may be current for a period of three years dependent upon the type of vaccine administered. All vaccinations shall be administered according to the label recommendations of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved vaccine. The dog, cat or ferret must be re-vaccinated before the expiration of the first and each subsequent current vaccination period.
(Ord. 16229 § 1 (part), 2006)
A. Nothing in this section shall apply to dogs in the company of law enforcement personnel while executing official duties.
B. It is lawful for any service animal to be admitted when actually accompanying a disabled person to any public place or vehicle, which the disabled person may have the lawful right to enter, if the animal is currently vaccinated, registered and microchipped.
C. Except as provided in subsection A or B of this section, it is unlawful for any person having charge, care, custody or control of any animal to allow such animal in any public vehicle or in any public building not used primarily for animals or their care, unless permission in writing has been issued by the program.
D. All persons having ownership, care, custody or control of any animal shall be prohibited from taking the animal upon or into any public playground, school grounds or athletic facility within the city unless permission in writing has been issued by the owner of the premises or their designee.
(Ord. 16229 § 1 (part), 2006)
A. A dog suspected of being dangerous may be impounded or quarantined in accordance with procedures as established by this title.
B. A dog that is designated as dangerous may not be released from impoundment or quarantine until such time as the owner has complied with the standards for keeping a dangerous dog enumerated in this title and Texas Health and Safety Code Section 822.042. Failure to comply with the requirements for keeping a dangerous dog within thirty days of the receipt of notice by the veterinary officer or director that said dog is dangerous, shall result in a determination that the dog has been abandoned.
1. Exception. The program may not proceed with humane destruction of a dangerous dog in any case where the owner has filed a proper appeal of the dangerous dog determination with the municipal court.
2. All fees for administration, quarantine and impound shall be paid prior to the release of any dangerous dog.
a. The veterinary officer director may extend the thirty-day compliance period by written request of the owner provided that documentation of the need for an extension is provided (for instance, building permits, building plans, building contracts, correspondence from insurance company). During the period of extension the dog shall remain in the custody of the center and impound fees shall continue to accrue.
C. Appeal of a dangerous dog determination shall be in accordance with Texas Health and Safety Code Section 822.0421.
(Ord. 16807 § 2 (part), 2007; Ord. 16229 § 1 (part), 2006)
(Ord. No. 17635, § 6, 8-30-2011)
Family Bystander Mental Anguish Claims
Texas recognizes the right of bystanders to recover damages for mental anguish caused by witnessing an accident, with the following limitations: the bystander must be a parent or child of the victim and the victim must have been killed or severely injured in the animal attack or mauling. Therefore, if you have witnessed a close family member mauled or bitten by a dog, you may want to pursue legal action on behalf of the injury victim as well as your own claims for witnessing such a horrific event. Contact an El Paso dog bite lawyer today to discuss bystander and mental anguish claims.
Negligence Based on Failure to Stop an Attack
A Texas dog owner owes a duty to attempt to stop his dog from attacking a person after the attack has begun. This is a civil duty, meaning that the El Paso dog bite victim can sue for monetary damages if the dog owner does not attempt to stop the attack.
If you or a loved one have been bitten or mauled by a dangerous dog in El Paso or El Paso County, TX, please contact one of the experienced El Paso dog bite injury lawyers listed on this page.
What Should You Do if You Have Been Bitten by a Dog?
- Make every attempt to keep the animal in sight, find its owner, and obtain the owner’s contact information, preferably verified by their photo ID.
- Immediately wash the wound out with soap and warm water.
- Make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus shots.
- Seek the help of a physician or visit a local hospital.
- Report the bite to the El Paso Planning and Development Services Department (contact information below).
- Seek the help of an El Paso dog bite attorney, if necessary, and maintain copies of all medical records and other relevant evidence.
For more information on dog bites and their victims, visit DogsBite.org
Dog Bite Reporting:
If you would like to report an El Paso area or El Paso County dog bite or ask other questions pertaining to veterinary public health, do not hesitate to contact the El Paso County Public Health & Environmental Services office at:
A variety of animal training classes and services are offered by the El Paso SPCA. The El Paso SPCA may be reached at:
Contact one of the experienced El Paso dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serve El Paso and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout Western Texas, including Anthony, Belen, Borderland, Buena Vista, Buford, Butterfield, Canutillo, Chaparral, Clint, El Paso, Ft. Bliss, Horizon City, Loma Terrace, Prado Verde, Santa Martina, Socorro, Sparks, Vinton, Westway, and other communities in El Paso County.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, please contact one of the experienced El Paso County dog bite lawyers listed on this page.